Oh my stars and garters!
When word first got out about the four night DC crossover a few months back, I was intrigued but not excited. Sure, anytime you get Barry Allen and Oliver Queen together—two guys who couldn’t be more different—there is fun to be had. Also, I thought the “crossover” aspects would be nothing more than a bit of a bleed over between shows, no overreaching story. Once that concern was dispelled by the producers, I still wondered about how effective it would be putting all these heroes together. Last night’s Supergirl didn’t help in that regard as it was mostly a standalone episode with Barry and Cisco coming through at the very end. So that left The Flash to truly carry the baton as the first real runner out of the gate.
Holy cow, did it deliver.
There is so much going on in “Invasion!” that I really don’t know where to start. Well, the beginning is as good a place as any, but the show doesn’t start there. No, it settles on the effective and fun in media res turn where Oliver and Barry are being attacked by their friends which include Supergirl, Diggle, Thea, Firestorm, Heatwave, Atom, and White Canary. So, how did we get here?
Rewind 10 hours.
Wally’s already hitting Mach 2 and despite his tests coming up roses, Iris is doing the Iris thing: generally speaking, making herself a nuisance.
She doesn’t want Wally to join in on the fight and is more vocal about it than Joe. Meanwhile, Barry and Cisco are still at odds, though that’s firmly due to the latter’s understandable anger at the whole Flashpoint fiasco—something that gets more play later in the episode. As HR tries to sell his vision for the reopening of S.T.A.R. labs, the alert comes; a meteor is falling and Barry goes to investigate. Only it’s not a meteor, it’s a spaceship. And out of it pours the aliens, like seven-foot roaches.
They are the Dominators, an alien species known to the government since the 50s—good old Uncle Sam keeping secrets—and were even a part of Earth-38’s past (Kara’s Earth). But what do they want? Lilah briefs Team Flash, ordering them to hold still but Barry knows that’s not the right call and thinks big: it’s time to bring the extended team together.
The gathering plays out well, with a few humorous beats (Diggle’s not a fan of Flash-travel) but once everyone’s gathered, it’s time they go through a few paces with Supergirl playing the bad, ummm, girl.
But before they get started, Stein and Jax share Barry’s future message with both he and Oliver. We get another summary of Barry’s Flashpoint fiasco and though Jackson wants to tell the others, Oliver knows that with the Dominators out there, that type of dissension would be catastrophic as far as team chemistry goes. Gruffness aside, Ollie’s point is made where the petulant Cisco, who just loves spilling other people’s secrets, confronts Barry after he finds the recording. Everyone finds words to Kick-the-Barry (with Diggle being the only one with a true reason to be pissed) which leads to Oliver staying with Barry while Kara leads the others to a rescue of the President—did I mention the Dominators took him?
While the others foolishly fall into the Dominators trap and fall under the aliens mind control device, Oliver and Barry have a powerful heart-to-heart. We all know how Barry loves to take the world upon his shoulders. Yes, he screwed up with Flashpoint (or maybe it should be SCREWED UP!) but Oliver understands. He shares his own pain of how he lost his parents, admitting that if he could have them back, he’d do exactly what Barry did. “You’re not a God, Barry,” is the last thing Oliver says before getting words that their friends are back…and not in a good way.
What follows is about as fun an action piece you’ll see on network television. Barry and Oliver versus Everyone is both fun and harrowing. Sure, no one’s going to die but despite that, our two heroes feel as if they are fighting for their lives. And when Wally strolls in to save their lives and gets absolutely trucked by Supergirl, I did think he was severely injured. As it was, thank God for speedster healing. But it’s Barry’s show and, as such, he saves the day by luring Supergirl back to the original Dominator ambush point and tricking her into wrecking the machine. The aliens hold is immediately released and our heroes are back in their own minds again. Now that they’re all back, it’s time to take the fight to the alien scum and…
Just like that, the Dominators beam up Sarah, Thea, Diggle, Ray Palmer, and Oliver. Even Barry’s an eye blink too slow, unable to grab Oliver as he disappears into the night sky.
To Be Continued—on Wednesday’s Arrow…
Flashpoints (this week only):
If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely loved this episode. While the Dominators are quite similar in their skittering ways to the Chitauri from 2012’s The Avengers, it’s not the plot that drives the terrific goodness of the hour. It’s all these characters, together on screen, each having their moments. I could spend another five pages going over all those moments, but will have to settle for a few…
- Professor Stein’s memory issues—touched on in Legends of Tomorrow—comes to a head when he goes to his house and comes face-to-face with…his daughter? Yep. Whether by the time hopping of the Legends or Barry’s Flashpoint, the good Prof has a daughter where he never had one.
- It looks like Wally has a mentor in HR. Both men have been pressed to the fringe of Team Flash, not yet thought of as a part of the team. For cripes sake, Wally saved Oliver and Barry but because he was hurt, Iris and Joe can’t acknowledge he saved the day (albeit in a very temporary fashion). I’m still not 100% trusting of HR but, man, it’s hard not to like the guy.
- Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl, is just a ray of sunshine fun. She reminds me so much of Barry: full of hope, energy, and unbridled joy at being a super hero. Her conversation and subsequent reaction to the events behind Mick’s ‘Heatwave’ moniker was golden. If only we could see more of her on The Flash…
The Flash: “Invasion!” 5/5 lightening bolts